I’ve been looking at challenges and improvements I’ve had with my clients over the past two weeks.
I wonder if any of you can relate to any of them. If you can I’m glad and I hope you benefit from one of them.
Here are some ideas.
If you have a tight back and or chest and shoulders I recommend that you do lower body Russian twists also known as windshield wipers.
The important part is that you have your hands against the floor. Palms are open and facing upwards.
The thumbs and fingers are held against the floor and remain there as you twist your legs left and right.
What this does is it opens up the chest and shoulders and engages the triceps.
As you hold your thumb and fingers against the floor. It also opens your spine up while working your core and waist.
For the same client, I decided to give him face pulls to retract his shoulder blades back. He was prior to training very kyphotic. This means his shoulders were rolled and hunched quite visibly forward. I also suggested that when he pulls the rope past his ears, that he keep his chest lifted and hold the rope past his ears with a 2 or 3 second pause after each rep of pulling.
He looked great afterwards standing taller and looking way for more impressive in body language and presence.
He even said to me with a big grin and smile on his face.
‘After a work week this is a great way to start the weekend. At work I can feel stressed and tight and now I feel taller after doing this.’
Another tip he really liked is that when walking or standing check your thumb position. If they are rolling in towards your leg. Open their position outwards and away from your leg.
This will help keep your shoulders more neutral and open as when the thumbs rotate inwards the shoulder blade moves according in line with the thumbs.
Consider also doing a hex or trap bar deadlift instead of a regular deadlifts. If you have lower back pain, weakness and or tightness it won’t be as effective a workout and it will also be potentially quite harmful until you have the mobility to do it properly.
The benefits of a hex bar deadlift for those that are kyphotic is that its easier to keep your chest up and shoulders back as the grip is neutral so it’s easy to retract or pull your shoulders closer together and towards each other.
Another tip I have for guys particularly, especially those working on strength and muscle building is to work with or at least do good warm up sets with light weights to enhance mobility, get stronger with greater range, improve your biomechanics which means better quality movement and feeling to your movements and your body and to improve the concentration of the exercise, the movement of the muscles and the technique.
I have another client who has an endurance horse riding event. She’s asked me if she can get fit and toned training with me doing resistance training 2 times a week.
My answer is optimally to get in great shape quickly, effectively and efficiently do resistance training 3 to 4 times a week with a quality protein diet.
My other answer to her is of course she will get in shape if she’s doing resistance training 2 x a week horse riding a couple of times a week and the odd run. This is an active lifestyle and she is practicing her sport. As long as she holds herself accountable to eating healthier and in a way to rebuild muscles and burn fat while toning then absolutely. And that’s down to the accountability drills we do together.
For women that are pregnant what I do Is rather than doing stressful core which can cause tension or shortening of the stomach I tend to work on single leg balance drills which do two great things. One it works on the core safely. Secondly it works on improving posture which is really important for pregnant women.
With regards to training couples. What I’ve discovered is sometimes when doing a female based workout, women commonly ask to focus on glutes and core. This a lot of times benefits their partner. In this case my male client, her partner has spine issues. This has actually helped him a lot with spine weakness. Glute work has helped many of my clients who have had problems with their spines.
Vice versa when the male partner has asked for upper body focused workouts I see that the upper body focus has helped with upper body firmness particularly in the arms of my females clients.
Women can easily store bodyfat in the arms due to lymph nodes under the back of the arm and in the tricep area.
A great workout for women is to work the glutes and core goes like this.
Do a tri set. This is 3 exercises without any rest between each one. Move from station to station to set yourself up for the next exercise.
Another rule is to use full range of the movement, to extend at the top of the movement and to squeeze the muscles for 3 seconds at the finish of the movement so that after pushing you are squeezing the muscle for another 3 seconds.
You do each exercise 3 x for 3 trisets so it’s 9 sets focused on the glutes. Do 20 reps for each exercise and set.
Exercise 1 is a glute hip thrust from a declined bench so that you can get an even greater range than simply using a flat bench.
2 is abductions using an abduction machine.
3 is doing glute hip thrust from the floor
followed by a quadriset which is 4 exercises for the core done without any rest. Again 3 sets of each exercise for 3 rounds. So it’s 12 sets on the core. Do 20 reps for each exercise and set.
1. Crunches or sit ups depending on your ability and also if you have back pain. If you do have back pain simply do crunches not sit ups.
2. Lower body Russian twists or also known as windshield wipers.
3. Reverse crunches
4 Flutters also know as scissor kicks.
Another female client of mine used to do a lot of dance and so she wanted to work her arms and legs together. So a really nice sequence of exercises with dumbbells that I came up with were squats with dumbbell curls, squat and press (shoulder press), squat and lateral raises.
These exercises are great because you can coordinate your lower body with your upper body and get shape doing the upper and lower body in a quick, fun and mentally challenging way using your coordination.
That’s a sum of some exercise experiences I had and produced for my clients which worked well in the last two.
Now. Let’s move on to some nutrition and lifestyle aspects of fitness, and some strategies that are working for my clients.
One of my female clients has been reducing calories and replicating our pt sessions at home instead of joining a gym.
She trains once a week with me and does to additional resistance workouts at home ans also runs once a week.
Instead of quitting alcohol completely. What she does is reduces her typical two drinks in an evening to one drink in an evening.
Shes also been weighing herself regularly. This works as this regularly keeps you accountable to yourself.
Another female client who’s losing weight and getting stronger and fitter sends a text food journal on what’s app. She writes down everything she eats everyday.
Interestingly I’ve said to her there will be no judgement simply me looking at it and logging it and asking how her weight is going.
She’s actually losing weight and each day improving her diet herself! She weighs herself and I believe enjoys texting me that she’s lost a bit of weight almost daily now. Quite impressive to be fair!
A female client of mine who is finding improving her diet challenging has had a few conversations with me about this.
The issue is she eats well during the week and then goes to her parents home in the countryside on the weekends.
The problem is her parents sort of push food at her and not particularly healthy ones such as ice creams and biscuits.
This actually is very uncomfortable and frustrating for her because she is doing such hard work eating healthily in the week and training that she feels this parent influence is affecting her results as shes so uncomfortable to not eat with her parents and sister.
The solution we came up with is to have boundaries in assertively communicating that she is eating healthier and avoiding sugary foods to shape up, lose some weight and be healthier.
Another thing we came up with was to suggest a healthier alternative snack! Instead of having ice cream and or biscuits to have an apple with some nuts.
Yet another suggestion is… if she can’t communicate effectively or is being ignored, or not given a healthier alternative to actually walk away and get some space and air.
The best of these options is really to assertively communicate with her parents and say that she’s spending money on training, got a sports event, is focused on losing weight, getting healthier and more shapely and doesn’t want to eat ice cream and or biscuits on a regular basis each weekend.
This sounds so simple but clearly this can be really uncomfortable for some people to assert. So if this does apply to anyone reading this I hope this helps you too!
The aim is to avoid communicating in a passive aggressive or aggressive manner as this doesn’t offer a sound long term solution when it involves family.
Another client of mine is vegan. He has been understanding more about protein vegan choices. Hes eating in a way to help him slim down. He now aims for higher protein vegan foods.
He’s been succeeding by eating more protein in beans, pulses, greens and chickpeas. Not eating out has helped him as well. Hes not eating cake and having less bread. Instead he eats more sweet potatoes.
He also wanted to know the difference between having white or brown bread.
I had to explain that if you don’t burn the calories of the white bread within 30 minutes it stores as bodyfat on the bottom and the abs.
Brown bread however gives a window of 3 to 4 hours to be burnt so it’s easier to burn and break down and metabolise.
I hope one or some these scenarios helps you as well.